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Thread: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

  1. #21
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    How much do triathletes need to learn about swimming? Ones goals in a triathlon are most relevent. If someone is trying to complete the entire distance of the event, "survival" - or competence or adequacy - is all that is required of their swimming ability. Ditto the bike and the run. If you walk through a pool or float on your back, so be it. I dont see anything wrong with this. During my first triathlon I swam with my head above water the whole time - I believe they call that 'tarzanning'. Ones own subjective measure is the only important issue when it comes to completion of amatuer atheltic events - Am I happy with my performance today?

    Now, if one is trying to win a triathlon, their swim has to be pretty darn good. There is a saying - one cannot win a triathlon during the swim leg, but one can certainly lose the race during the swim leg.

    As a bit of a side note, it seems like pure swimmers give triathletes a lot of grief. Cyclists do this too (obviously not every swimmer/cyclist does this). I never really understood it. Haters gonna hate, I guess.

  2. #22
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail.dog1 View Post
    Ones goals in a triathlon are most relevent. If someone is trying to complete the entire distance of the event, "survival" - or competence or adequacy - is all that is required of their swimming ability. . . . . If you walk through a pool . . . so be it.
    The last time I checked the sport is SWIM, BIKE, RUN

    "A triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events.[1] While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances." - Wiki

    If you walk the swim, walk the bike and walk the run, then it is a walk, not a multisport event.
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

  3. #23
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    ChrisM is one of the good swimmers to post on beginnertriathlete.com. Most of the swim advice on that forum is horrifying. However, use of the term "competent " is entirely dependent in the forum.
    Agreed. I'm on that forum from time to time (used to be more when I did them) and you can spend all your time trying to correct false beliefs. One of my favorites is that you should turn before you get to the wal because there are no walls in the swim leg. This one is repeatedly put forth as knowledge. I can't remember how many times I have tried to clear that one up. A corollary to that is that you should not do flip turns because you don't do flip turns in the swim leg.

    Trifly on BT gives good advice, but the person who acts as the expert most of the time has a limited perspective. It is fairly sound, but does lead itself to be misunderstood by some triathletes. Frankly, I think for most of the people on that forum swimming needs to be simplified. I just hope that as they progress they expand their knowledge base beyond what is presented as expert advice.
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

  4. #24
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    ChrisM is one of the good swimers to post on beginnertriathlete.com. Most of the swim advice on that forum is horrifying. However, use of the term "competent " is entirely dependent in the forum.
    My experience is that many triathletes(at least on forums) don't know squat about swimming but think they know more than Michael Phelps.
    I just read a thread in a triathlon forum where a 45 year old mom who just started running last year plans to do THREE triathlons this summer. She has zero experience in swimming and zero experience in cycling. She is just learning to swim/cycle and said she hopes to manage to swim 50 meters soon(no, I'm not kidding).
    I mentioned if it wouldn't be better to learn more swimming first and then do a triathlon or at least start with one and see how it goes and go from there but she insists she is very ambitious. All the other triathletes just said "Go for it". Well, summer is in 3 months. One reason the other triathletes don't consider swimming as important is because they argue that even if you swim breast stroke(the version with your head above the water) and really suck, you will make the time on the bike and while running so it's more important to cycle a lot.

    Oh, at the end I told her she should just try her best and in the beginning she will probably not be very good but she'll see how the procedure goes and can work from there. Her answer was "I intend to be one of the first five of my age group"......hmm
    Last edited by Lui; April 8th, 2012 at 03:47 PM.

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lui View Post
    "I intend to be one of the first five of my age group"......hmm
    In some local races there may only be 5 in my AG
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    From these comments I believe the triathletes in my area are smarter than most. Any I have come in contact with take a year to prepare for an Ironman length Tri. Many work with a coach.
    On the other hand, I have been the starter at a triathlon (with a swim of <1000 m) with the swim in the ocean. there are always some who turn back within 30 sec. They have never been in the ocean and didn't try it the day before or the morning of.

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Betsy View Post
    From these comments I believe the triathletes in my area are smarter than most.
    That's why I added "at least on forums". Obviously you don't notice the triathlete who just concentrates on training and prepares quietly. You just notice the ones on triathlons forums who say "I decided to to my first triathlon next week. Does anybody know how to swim?"

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by E=H2O View Post
    The last time I checked the sport is SWIM, BIKE, RUN

    "A triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events.[1] While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances." - Wiki

    If you walk the swim, walk the bike and walk the run, then it is a walk, not a multisport event.
    If you were to walk, say, half a mile, during the marathon portion of an Ironman event, does that mean you did not complete it?

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail.dog1 View Post
    If you were to walk, say, half a mile, during the marathon portion of an Ironman event, does that mean you did not complete it?
    I'll assume that this is not a serious question.
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by E=H2O View Post
    I'll assume that this is not a serious question.
    You know what they say about people who assume?

    (except it isnt making an as* out of me)

  11. #31
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    I train with a few very accomplished triathletes. I only call them triathletes because it fits this topic. But, they are all really swimmers, bikers, and runners. They train like swimmers. The answer to the question of "how much do triathletes need to know about swimming" is really dependent on how competitive they want to be. If they are part of the 98% of triathletes who simply want to finish a race so they can put a sticker on their car and call themselves triathletes, the answer is "not much." If they are part of the 2% that really want to take their competition to the next level, the answer is "quite a lot."

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    If they are part of the 2% that really want to take their competition to the next level, the answer is "quite a lot."
    You might be surprised to find that there a good number of MOP & BOP that take it very seriously. Even the old farts like me train & race so hard we are completely blown at the end of the race. I joke about going for a nice bike ride and a bit of a jog after the swim, but I can assure you that racing the swim is easy part. I always had to spend the rest of the race trying hold my place. It takes a lot of mental toughness to continue to push the pain limit as people pass you. Thankfully, the field in my AG is relatively small.
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail.dog1 View Post
    You know what they say about people who assume?

    (except it isnt making an as* out of me)
    Since you are relatively new to this forum, and apparently swimming as reflected in your other posts, I'll give you a pass on this one. You might find Slowtwitch more your liking. And before you go off, let me say that some of my best friends are mountain bikers
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by E=H2O View Post
    You might be surprised to find that there a good number of MOP & BOP that take it very seriously. Even the old farts like me train & race so hard we are completely blown at the end of the race. I joke about going for a nice bike ride and a bit of a jog after the swim, but I can assure you that racing the swim is easy part. I always had to spend the rest of the race trying hold my place. It takes a lot of mental toughness to continue to push the pain limit as people pass you. Thankfully, the field in my AG is relatively small.
    I've done quite a few tris over the years and I sorta agree with you. However, the bluster is usually not on par with the actual training.

    I also think MOP and BOP are two terms that need to be banished. I don't know why they are used so often, other than to simply annoy me.

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by aquageek View Post
    I've done quite a few tris over the years and I sorta agree with you. However, the bluster is usually not on par with the actual training.
    lol. So true of many, but in the older (50+) AGs I think we have a more realistic view of what we've put in, and what we can expect back.

    I also think MOP and BOP are two terms that need to be banished. I don't know why they are used so often, other than to simply annoy me.
    I absolutely agree, but I think they need to add RUF (Right Up Front) so I can boast about my swim results.
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Brilliant, kind Sir! How fortunate I am to have been granted a pass by you! I shall spread news of your generosity! Noobs from the farthest reaches of the internet shall come to bask in the glory of your posting genius!

    Quote Originally Posted by E=H2O View Post
    You might find Slowtwitch more your liking.
    I doubt it. The internet is an awful mess of idiocy. Trying to find any semblance of reason is like playing the lottery.


    Finding sarcasm, on the other hand...

  17. #37
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail.dog1 View Post
    Finding sarcasm, on the other hand...
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin in MD View Post
    On the other hand I will say something that I do like about the tri community is that most of the people are coming to it as adults and are doing it BECAUSE of the challenge. They know they won't necessarily be good at it yet aren't afraid to go out there and do it. Or to go out there and suck :-)

    This is in contrast to a good chunk of swimmers on my own squad who won't go to a meet, or won't do this event or that event because they don't think they will do well at it or because it's hard. It' is a totally different mindset actually. I think the unfortunate part is that the swimmers might be missing out on some fun and rewarding experiences.
    This is a good and sound observation on the difference between the two groups. And geek kind of finished off the point talking about the difference between the 2% of triathletes (probably more like 10% ) who really want to race, compete and win.

    So swimmers have something to learn from triathletes: Just do the event. Don't worry so much about being fast.

    And triathletes ahve something to learn from swimmers: Don't be a poser. You didn't compete in an Ironman, you completed an Ironman. You can still be proud of the accomplishment though!

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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Athough I swore off this thread, it's getting interesting.

    Just trying to clarify, I don't think winning (being competitive) is a requirement to be a serious triathlete, or take swimming seriously. That's sort of a jaded viewpoint. One could, without thinking about it, say the exact same thing about OW swimmers that go do an alcatraz crossing, or a pier to pier, then check it off the list. My impression is that there are many more serious people in both tris and OW swimming, by an order of magnitude, than a 2% that wants to cross off a bucket list (there are those as well, as there are in every sport).

    If having to be competitive were true, it wouldn't explain my story very well. But maybe I can just go home after work and eat chips rather than driving to masters workout.....

    I am one of those that is one of the first out of the water, then spend the rest of the race trying to hold off those weaker swimmers that can bike and run faster than me. I'm getting better at it, this year I was 11th out of the water (AG), then 54 and 72 after bike and run at Oceanside 70.3. Last year I was 16th out of the water, and then 100-something after the bike and 150-something after the run. I am "competitive" on the swim, but it's not an open water swim. It's a swim/bike/run.

    I swim 300K plus yards a year, and it's just enough to keep me out front for a little while (and nets me a top 30% or so at swim only events). I know folks that swim faster on less. But it's a helluva lot more than most people I see on BT and other boards, so that part of the point is fairly valid. Personally, I am just of the training opinion that being in good swim shape doesn't just get you a good swim time, it sets up a good day. If you get to the bike and/or run totally gassed, a fast swim is irrelevant. But I have worked my a$$ off the last year to get better at biking and running while trying to maintain a semblance of swim fitness.

    There are only 3 (sometimes 5) podium slots. I'd have to go at least an hour faster overall to smell the podium at a 70.3 (and every year seems to get faster). That does not mean I don't take the swim (very) seriously, and enter every race trying to go as fast as I can, which in every case is not as fast as others. I really want to win, I am just not fast enough to actually do so

  20. #40
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    Re: How much do triathlete need to learn about swimming?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM View Post
    My impression is that there are many more serious people in both tris and OW swimming, by an order of magnitude, than a 2% that wants to cross off a bucket list (there are those as well, as there are in every sport).
    My 2% figure was hyperbole but not by much. If you read the beginner tri forums they are chock full of "just want to finish" comments, which I cannot understand. Just finishing implies defeat. Even if you finish DFL you should give it your all and not just be satisfied you crossed the finish line. The vast majority of triathlons are not IMs, HIMs or Olys. They are sprints, or, worse yet, super sprints. If your goal is to simply finish one of those, time for some new goals, like developing the next great Taco Bell entre.

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